Don’t miss this amazing story about how a new technology can help couples conceive a healthy child
NRM is the only clinic in Vermont offering blastocyst biopsies for pre-implantation genetic screening “PGD”, a state-of-the-art procedure utilized when undergoing IVF to select embryos free of a specific disease. This technology offers hope to individuals or couples carrying diseases that can be devastating or even fatal, and improve the likelihood of healthy pregnancy. PGD assists individuals or couples who are known carriers of a specific genetic disease, such as Cystic Fibrosis, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or other single gene disorders, and allows identification of genetic disease to avoid passing the genetic disorder to offspring.
If you or your partner carry a known genetic disorder, the first step is to work with your physician and the genetics laboratory to set-up a probe that can detect the gene of concern.
What is the process of PGD?
Following IVF with ICSI, the first step is embryo biopsy. We have highly experienced embryologists who can perform microsurgical removal of one cell from a 3-day old or a few cells from a 5or 6-day old embryo. The biopsied cells are then placed in special containers in dry ice, and sent to a central PGD laboratory where each sample is analyzed independently.
We prefer to obtain testing cells from the embryo through a blastocyst (day-5) biopsy, because at this stage the inner cell mass, which will develop into the fetus, has differentiated from the trophectoderm, which will later develop into the placenta and membranes. A biopsy at this stage involves the removal of a number of cells (3-10) from the trophectoderm. This type of biopsy is advantageous in that no cells are extracted from the inner cell mass, while still obtaining multiple cells for carrying out PGS, which leads to improved accuracy. Furthermore, blastocysts are more robust than earlier embryonic stages and tolerate biopsy exceptionally well. The blastocyst also is the best stage for vitrification (flash freezing, into a “glass-like” state) with almost 100% survival rate.